|By Raja Awasthi, The Economic Times, India|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Feb. 20, 2005 - NEW DELHI -- Luxury hotels may soon be moving out of their ivory towers and into the real world. And if you had seen the ultimate mall and mega mall, think again.
There's a new trend coming -- hotel-cum-malls, much like the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai with global luxury brands as anchoring tenants. Though the new projects are likely to attract a more comprehensive retail mix, the stats are staggering.
There are over 15 new hotel-cum-malls in various stages of planning and slated to come up across the country by the end of 2006. Of the 19.6 million sq ft of retail space being made available in six metros by 2006, over six million sq ft will be taken up by these new hotels.
The DLF Group is planning a hotel-cum-mall in Saket, while Wadhwa Developers and Leela Galleria have projects in Powai and Mumbai, respectively.
Others include Garuda Mall on MG Road in Bangalore; Mahima Real Estate in Jaipur, and JMD Regent Mall in Gurgaon. Though this is a new market that developers are foraying into, the parties concerned have worked out a detailed road map before taking up such projects.
Says T Chakrabarti, head, India Property Research: "Following the tremendous build up of malls of every size and shape, the first of the mixed use formats are now being announced.
They typically combine a mall and a hotel, or a mall and a serviced apartment. Such mixed use formats are quite prevalent world-wide and allow the users to complement each other in a way that both benefit."
The proposed hotel-cum-malls will be built up over an area of 3.5 to 5 lakh sq ft. They are over five storeys and include a 5-star deluxe hotel, anchor stores, hyper markets and speciality stores.
The Jaipur-based Mahima Real Estate Pvt Ltd (MREPL) which is planning four malls in Jaipur city alone did an in-depth study with Greybeard Cacston & Co (GBC) before deciding to launch a hotel-cum-mall project in the Pink City. After studying the retail market, GBC said that there was a niche market wherein a world class hotel within a mall was viable.
Says Dhirendra Madan, MD, MREPL, "For a hotelier, the overall advantage is that the mall location would have been chosen by the mall developer keeping in mind the catchment area, population, spend potential and image. Since these factors are common for choosing a hotel site as well, the hotelier needs to concentrate merely on having the rooms and their interiors in place."
In the planning stages, however, the hotelier might need to collaborate with the developer on specific requirements, such as a separate entrance for the hotel, Madan added.
With over eight malls planned in Gurgaon, real estate developers seem to be looking at fresh avenues of developments. The NCR region is short of 15,000 hotel rooms, while Gurgaon has a shortfall of around 3,000 rooms per day, on account a huge rise in the number of business travellers into the country.
Says Sunil Bedi, CMD, JMD Group: "This is a new initiative for our group which will primarily be targeting the upscale business traveller and will make a paradigm shift from retail sales to deluxe hospitality. The JMD Regent Mall has been conceptualised based on the theory that hospitality propels retail business."
In pure business terms it seems to be a win-win situation for the developers. Says Anuj Puri MD Chesterton Meghraj Property Consultants Pvt. Ltd:" If there are a thousand footfalls on the ground level in a mall then our study shows that only 700 footfalls reach the first level.
This leaves the mall developers with a large unused FSI component, and developers not want to utilise this available FSI. This FSI is now used for construction of a hotel rather than an office or residential accommodation."
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